While the holidays can be a joyous and happy time for many, they are also known to bring about great sadness and depression. From stress and loneliness to generalized anxiety, it can be difficult to enjoy the holiday time and live in the present. Getting in control of yourself is critical for your health and well-being during the holiday months!
Here are some seemingly simple, yet very effective ways to overcome holiday-related depression, anxiety and stress:
Acknowledge your feelings.
It’s easy to feel the need to be superman or superwoman during the holidays, as you may be under pressure to check off your to-do list and make sure you’re meeting all your end-of-year goals. However, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings and emotions you experience during the holidays. For example, maybe this is your first Christmas without a loved one. Or, maybe you’re dealing with serious financial hardships. Just because it’s the holiday time, doesn’t mean you should be forced to feel happy or excited. Take the time to you need to acknowledge and express your feelings with family or friends. Being honest about how you feel can allow you to deal with your emotions in a natural and therapeutic way.
Unfortunately, there is an expectation placed by society to make sure the holidays are perfect. It’s important that you rid yourself of this expectation and remember that no holiday is perfect – no matter how hard you may try to make it. When it comes to your schedule, be realistic with how many commitments you can handle. Rather than run yourself ragged, it’s paramount that you give yourself time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. This may mean saying “no” to parties or other festivities and that’s perfectly OK. Establishing your own set of priorities will allow you to stay focused on what’s truly important during this busy time of year.
Don’t abandon healthy habits.
While your schedule may shift during the holiday time, you should still try your hardest to stick with your daily healthy habits. Whether it’s a morning workout routine or monthly massage, the last thing you should do is abandon these rituals! It’s normal to get a little off track, but letting the holidays get in the way of your regular schedule can make feelings of anxiety or depression worse than normal. The more you can stick to your regular eating, sleeping and exercise habits, the better you’ll feel physically and emotionally.
Being mindful of the practices above can do wonders for your mental health and well-being throughout the holidays – and all the time! Seeking the help of an experienced therapist can also help you through this time of the year. Take charge of your mental health and get in touch with Joseph Montaldi, LCSW, based in San Antonio, Texas.